Big Bill Backward’s True-Faced Western Tales, 11: Diving for Pearl-Fisher Persons

Recall when I wuz divin fer pearl-fisher persons we used ta find six, seven at a time, each loaded with so many pearls they near drownded.

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We found folks lyin on the ocean floor with their heads stuck in giant oyster shells, folks with pearls where their eyes shoulda been…

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One guy got his head inside a huge pearl n he wuz kinda livin in there: said he wuz breathin ‘Atlantis air’, n he had found the ‘true grit’.

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We’d pull em up n they’d come round n cough up weed n their eyes’d roll n they’d yell ‘I’m a Pearly King!’ (or queen) n dive right back in.

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Those we dragged back to land, we found pearls in their bellies, pearls in their veins, n they allus wanted pearls dissolved in their wine.

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Every full moon yuh hud to tie them down with silken scarves or they’d be flingin themselves in seas, lakes, swimmin pools, or just puddles.

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Used ta ask em what they saw in them pearls: ‘Clouds of oysters, pulsin n singin n chewin – skies of milk n skin goin on forever n ever…’

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